Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fired-up Nats still can't win

USA Today Sports Images
Desperate for some kind of emotional spark, something that might snap them out of their season-long fog and set them on an upward path at long last, the Nationals got their wish in the fifth inning Tuesday night when their 20-year-old star took a fastball off his hip and then started jawing at the opposing pitcher, clearing both benches and bullpens.

Bryce Harper may have stoked the flame, but it's tough to keep the fire going when you can't deliver a single clutch hit in a key situation.

That has been the story of the Nationals' entire season, and it once again was the story on Tuesday during a 2-1 loss to the Braves that left them staring up at an almost-unfathomable 14 1/2-game deficit in the NL East.

"You get one of your guys hit, get people fired up, maybe get a little motivation there," first baseman Adam LaRoche said. "I don't know. I've seen it go both ways."
Read more

60 comments:

SonnyG10 said...

Yea, grind it out boys. I'll be rooting for you all the way.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

"When the Great Scorer comes
To write against your name,
He'll mark not if you won or lost,
But HOW YOU PLAYED THE GAME."

"And do they say what happens if you didn't play the game very well?"

Laddie Blah Blah said...

Gio threw Gattis a low, outside fast ball. Earlier in the year that rookie would have tried to hit that pitch into the LF seats and would have missed it by a foot. It was a good pitch. But Gattis has learned to take that pitch to RF, and he leaned out and just poked it into RF for a 2-run single that won the game.

The Braves' rookie has spent the season learning how to hit in critical game situations like that. Desi should get himself a video of that AB by Gattis and look at it about 100 times until he gets the message.

The Braves are playing winning baseball for a reason. The Nats are not, and do not deserve to win. Minor was very hittable Monday night, and Teheran was not exactly over-powering last night, either.

ALR grounded out on what would have been ball three, which would have got him to a 3 - 0 count with the bases loaded, against a guy who had just walked the hitter ahead of him, Jayson Werth. Instead he swung at an inside pitch on his hands and grouneded out meekly to 1b.

Those 2 ABS sum up why the Braves will win the division and why the Nats will have to scramble to finish over .500. Gattis took a pitcher's pitch and made the winning play. ALR swung at a pitcher's pitch and squelched the Nats' best chance at winning the game. The guy who made the Braves' winning hit is a rookie, and the guy who ended the Nats' biggest threat is a seasoned vet. The rookie who came through is making rookie money, and the vet who failed is being paid $13 mn this year, alone.

It shouldn't be that way, but it is.

karlkolchak said...

"Fired up?" If this is what fired up looks like for this team, I'd hate to see what rolling over and playing dead looks like. We're supposed to get excited because they got angry that Harper got plunked? Big deal.

That's been the problem with this team all season, they equate running their mouths and printing silly t-shirts with actually going out performing on the field, which is the only way they would really gain respect from their peers. If Teheran knew that there was a decent chance one of Harper's teammates would back him up by subsequently depositing one in the seats, I guarantee you he wouldn't have thrown at him.

Another_Sam said...

One of Mark's tweets last night called for the bunt from ALR. This has seemed like an obvious way to go for me for a while -- small ball: this gang can't buy a clutch hit, yet the pitching is keeping the score low. There are a lot of games where one or two innings of small ball could have resulted in a different outcome. I agree that this lineup isn't built for small ball, but so what? I've had it with one run homers, ground outs and warning track fly balls.

Unknown said...

I will do my part today. Anyone wearing Braves gear will get an earful from me. Have to stand with our boys.

m said...

Besides equating Span's CF play with that of a ballet what other positive things can we say about this team. Their "edge of your seat play" leaves one wanting one more and more. As the "true' supporters continue to point out it is only matter of time before we go on our run. I forget but I guess we need to win something like 45 of our next 50 games. The "true" supporters believe that is easily doable what with clutch hitters such as ALR, Desmond , Zim , Werth and of course Span batting leadoff, the latter being one of the best table setters ever. The difficulty with Span is deciding whether to bat him leadoff or 7th as we all know he has the power to go deep. His rollovers to the right side always put ptressure on the opposing team. Just ask Freeman.

I will just sit here and wait for Davey to turn these guys loose after working them into a frenzy.



Section 135 said...

Davey is such a meek old fool. Cant stand up for his star player yet he defends ALR and ZIM to all ends. You know Rizzo wanted someone hit, he's old school. This team is done. Wild card is a long shot. I hope at least by Sept we start auditioning guys for next year. Daveys managing this year is on par with Bobby Valentine last year.

JayB said...

So interesting that NOW...when it is too late...the masses see Davey as the problem. Where were you all in March? Where were you all in June with Dannygate.....Davey Johnson is a Hall of Famer in my view. Davey Johnson lost his edge over a year ago. Davey Johnson has fallen into a age induced feeble mindset. He has phoned in the year and that is just sad.

JayB said...

What to do now......Force Davey out or just fire him. It is not the first time and really it is kind of fitting given his career norms.......Bench ALR, Put Werth on DL but make him player manager starting today.....Sell whatever you can from the Kurt, Chad types....cut the rest. This clubhouse needs to be Harperized so bring up all the kids and let him lead them.....met with Zim and let him know he no longer has a future at 3rd and look to trade him......or move him to 1B by March.

Bottom line is the team needs a complete overhaul in attitude. Start now with Harper being the leader of the whole team not just the young ones...make him captain if you need to get Zims attention.

Cameron said...

Laddie BB said it perfectly.

The last two games show that the Braves are just a better team. They have the ability to play small ball. Their pitcher got a sac bunt down that led to a 2-run single. Our pitcher couldn't lay down a bunt after a lead off dobule. This team will continue to struggle if they just rely on the 3-run homer...

2 days ago I had hope (no idea why), tonight I'm going to struggle even turning the game on. I need a break.

fast eddie said...

I live in Barves' TV territory (SC) and am forced to watch their announcers whenever we play them. They emphasized three critical stats that say it all:
1)Nats have scored two runs or less in 52(!) games (and won six of those)
2)We're hitting .072 vs. their BP (7-for-97)
Are we THAT bad or are they that good???
3)We are 1-for-15 RISP in these two games (a microcosm of the whole season)

Unknown said...

The team stinks this year and Davey has managed poorlymbUt blowing up the team is the wrong thing to do. Fix the problems. Get a plan B if Zim continues to stink, it may be just moving Rendon to third and letting Lombo or Kobernus play daily and bat eighth or hoping Espinosa figures it out. Get Moore and Brown to share LF or sign the Beast back. Make Span a defensive replacement, part timer and groom Goodwin for 2015. Get the bullpen fixed with clear roles and get your fourth and fifth starters from young, in house options. Tweak yes. Destroy? no!

JayB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JayB said...

Distroy is not what I said.....I said change the culture. Need to find a tipping point and that is clearing out the ALR/TRACEY,HAIRISTON TYPES and putting Werth and Harper in charge....of it all. Davey is lost and beaten.....He picked the wrong people to put his trust in and he has clearly lost the mental edge. BLOW it up for the rest of this season sure but the core is the core....and that is fine.

Nats 128 said...

All we have to do is copy and paste. Theres not much positive we can say.

Davey, Laroche, Zimmerman, Desmond, blah blah blah.

JayB said...

CORE is....Harper/Werth/Ramos/Ian/Rendon...on the field and Stras/Zim/Geo/ on the hill....that is it on the MLB roster. Keep the young guys in the system but do not expose them to this loser set of vets...and yes I do not see Zim as a oore player anymore. He is just too soft...he will stay out that contract and help but core or leader status...nope!

JayB said...

I strongly disagree. This team has huge positives. If you have Harper you have more than any other team in baseball going forward. Add Werth and ZimmNN you have mental toughness. You add youth like Rendon, Ramos you have a lot of youth upside. What you do not have now is a manager or Vet group who can keep pace with Harper. Harper is the Nats and the faster Rizzo gets that the sooner we win.

Whack-a-Mule said...

Mule on the subject of Humiliation -

The Nationals were humiliated last night by a brash, cocky (and talented) youngster, Mr. Julio Teheran.

Mr. Teheran , in a fit of pique, deliberately threw at (and hit) the Nats' (admittedly brash, cocky and talented) young outfielder, Mr. Harper.

Mr. Teheran walked away from the evening with a chuckle. Not only were there no consequences from his action, he enjoyed the best and final revenge - a thorough shut-down, beat-down victory.

Why would Mr. Teheran have any respect for the Nationals ? After all, "he who laughs last . . ."




Nats 128 said...

"ALR grounded out on what would have been ball three, which would have got him to a 3 - 0 count with the bases loaded, against a guy who had just walked the hitter ahead of him, Jayson Werth. Instead he swung at an inside pitch on his hands and grouneded out meekly to 1b."

Werth was a pitch around walk Im thinking. This AB by Laroche was what he has been for the last month and all of April which is a choker. Are we to believe he recognised a pitch over the middle of the plate and it came inside. Pitch track was clear.

SCNatsFan said...

I agree Davey had his time, had his chance and he should gracefully exit; he can HRod himself (becasue, like us, we know this team makes him sick). If you give accolades for manager of the year then you have to accept responsibility for allowing this team to fall so far, so fast.

Not hitting anyone last night in a lost season was inexcusable. Gio is wrong, trying to win isn't the best way to get back at the - actually winning is. When another team embarasses you at home and you take it under the assumption we might win you get another low point in a season of low points.

Should have put Roark in and let him drill a guy. He'd have mad respect around the clubhouse on his first day.

natsfan1a said...

Saw some of the game but kinda sorta fell asleep towards the end there. Rather surprised to hear that there wasn't a counter-drilling administered.

Nats 128 said...

"JayB said...
CORE is....Harper/Werth/Ramos/Ian/Rendon...on the field and Stras/Zim/Geo/ on the hill...."

Yes, and Rendon will only get better. Ian has room to get better.

Bryce actually is not good w RISP and must improve. .255 BA not great.

Ryan Zimmerman leads the Nats with RISP and I think is still a core player if he can play good defense.

natsfan1a said...

[reading after the jump] dang, I must have sped past the bench clearing after I rewound the DVR. And, yeah, Upton's dinger admiration and trot the other night seemed more egregious than Harper's.

TimDz said...

One of the Braves gets a fastball to the ribs tonight...
Question is, who?

I'm guessing one of the Upton brothers...

RaleighNat said...

I hate to say it, but I've given up and thinking about the offseason. Rizzo's got a job to fix this mess. As a start, I'd trade Span and LaRoche if possible.

Nats 128 said...

"RaleighNat said...
I hate to say it, but I've given up and thinking about the offseason. Rizzo's got a job to fix this mess. As a start, I'd trade Span and LaRoche if possible."

I dont think they are trading Span however what do you expect to get for Laroche. Same with Hairston.

Laroche has value as a bench player and an expensive bench player at that.

RaleighNat said...

How far we have fallen...can you believe this was just last year:

http://deadspin.com/5951449/nationals-buoyed-by-fans-magical-a+ha-singalongs-to-take-on-me++and-tonights-was-the-best-yet

JaneB said...

I didn't understand Mark's tweet about ALR bunting because it was two outs then. ANd I REALLY didn't understand why Gio didn't plunk one of their guys in the 7th, at least. They got away with something they shouldn't have been able to get away with. West should have tossed their guy or only warned their team.

It must be so hard to be a National now. Again. And don't start whining about how much they're paid. They want to win, and are as mystified as we are. It was hard to be there last night. Glad I won't be tonight. sigh.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Way too much focus on the 'retaliation'... The best form of retaliation would have been to run Teherna out of the game....If you want to focus on something... Focus on the horrible execution of play by the Nats...

Gio and his crucial bunt... The decision to throw to Gattis (who maybe their best player with RiSP) when first base was open... The dumb swing on 2-0 on a ball on the inside by Adam LaRoche... the dumb 2-0 swing by Werth on the first pitch...

Yes Teheran was wrong and he intentionally hit Harp but you beat him at his game as you beat his team...

Nats Fan 204 said...

THE MAN IN THE ARENA
Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic" Theodore Roosevelt,France on 23 April, 1910

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,

bowdenball said...

Baseball is a skill sport, not an effort sport. You can't win by trying harder or being more fired up during a game. So saying you respond by hitting the pitcher/beating the team is silly. You can't just flip a motivational switch and get hits and wins.

Joe Seamhead said...

You know, Bryce did admire his HR, then very slowly trotted around the bases, and then blew a kiss to the heavens.All this after taking a 1 run lead against a team that is burying you in the standings and has owned you all year. Get real, folks. You want to talk "old school?" Put the shoe on the other foot. How would you respond if the situation was reversed? He picked a bad time and place to showboat against the wrong team. The Braves are doing to us what we wanted our Nats to do: they're stepping on our necks.

The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. said...

"RaleighNat said...

How far we have fallen...can you believe this was just last year:

http://deadspin.com/5951449/nationals-buoyed-by-fans-magical-a+ha-singalongs-to-take-on-me++and-tonights-was-the-best-yet"

That's a big part of the bad juju this year. They should have retired the song when they traded the player. No one paid attention to it, but the Michael Morse sing-along AB was invariably his worst AB of the game. As Yogi would say, you could look it up.

phil dunton said...

Wish I had all the time back that I wasted watching these turkeys try to play baseball.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

JoeS said 'Put the shoe on the other foot. How would you respond if the situation was reversed?'

===
Well, we saw JUp do the same thing last night... And no one plunked any player... Teheran was an ass and he should have been ejected... It wasnt a question about it not being on purpose...

But again, the Nats had their chances and they didnt take advantage of them... That would have been the best form of retaliation...

Muddy said...

Yeah, execution. (1) Bunting -- Gio pops up a bunt that could've advanced Rendon to 3rd where he would've scored on Zimm's long fly (after Harp was HBP) and tied the score. Teheran does bunt very well to advance runners to 2nd and 3rd and Gattis drives them in, hitting with RISP, which the Nats are not doing. BTW, the Nats continued struggles at the plate make the Eckstein firing look very weak, IMO.(2) Basestealing -- Ramos can't seem to throw a ball to 2nd on the fly. Last night he bounced the two throws I saw him make there. The first, which some say was in time for the out but it didn't look like it to me, would've been on time for the out had it been on the fly. That would've erased B. Upton and Gattis would've gotten up to do his damage. So, does Ramos have a throwing problem that teams are exploiting, or were those two bounced throws last night not typical? Both Suzuki and Ramos' SB against percetages are high -- that is, they aint' throwin' a lot of guys out -- so maybe the pitchers aren't helping much and it's a team problem like bunting. The team does not look sharp to me in a couple of critical areas and hasn't all season.

bowdenball said...

Joe Seamhead said...

"You know, Bryce did admire his HR, then very slowly trotted around the bases, and then blew a kiss to the heavens.All this after taking a 1 run lead against a team that is burying you in the standings and has owned you all year. Get real, folks. You want to talk "old school?" Put the shoe on the other foot. How would you respond if the situation was reversed?"

Upton's HR trot Monday night was four seconds slower than Harper's last night. So we don't have to pretend; the situation was reversed 24 hours earlier. The Nats took it like men; if they had issues with Upton they probably told him personally, but they didn't risk injury by beaning him. THAT's how they responded if the situation was reversed.

BTW, when Harper "blew a kiss to the heavens" he was honoring a child he had befriended this season who died of cancer last week. What a terrible guy, he sure was asking for it.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Muddy - that is exactly what I mean... we executed some fundamentals terribly last night, as we have all season...

I swear this team seems to be allergic to 'clicking'... When the pitching is on, bats are off... Its like we cant get all the elements of the game to click at once...

SCNatsFan said...

MrsB I agree, running the score up would have been ideal retaliation. Unfortunately this team does not have that option so plunking someone was the only recourse. We chose option 3, do nothing but pout.

pwilly said...

Some crazy ideas about cutting players and firing managers...forget it. This team is set for the year unless they make a move for another starting pitcher. This isn't a fantasy league.

As far as retaliation, it's obvious it's coming and who it will be. JUpton will wear one, it's just a matter of when. I agree with FP who was pretty animated after the game. Upton should have been drilled in the top of the 8th, his next at bat after Harper's beaning. Yes the game was still in the balance but sometimes protecting your star players comes first. Heck, he ended up on first anyway with a single. I think JZimm will take care of business in short order tonight.

John said...

The fact is EVERY SINGLE BENCH Player hit over .250 last season. This year, NOT 1 bench player is batting over .250.
Which leads me to Rizzo... His decision not to beef up the bench this past offseason is a gamble that has proven disastrous. Tracy, Bernadina, Suzuki & Moore all had unusually good seasons. Rizzo's trust in these players along with Davey's loyalty has proven costly. Each of these guys needs to be sent down. And why on earth isn't SOLANO playing for the Nats? Suzuki can't freakin hit. Send him down. Marraro needs to come up along with Kobernus and ANYONE else that hit the damn ball.

Joe Seamhead said...

MrsB and bowdenball, the difference between the situations is that they are killing us. Like I said, bad time, wrong team to showboat a one run lead against.
I love Harper,and even understood his actions, but think he was off base.( bowdenball, I knew why the kiss, but do you seriously think Tehran did?)

bowdenball said...

John said...

"And why on earth isn't SOLANO playing for the Nats? Suzuki can't freakin hit. Send him down."

So your solution to the team's offensive woes is to replace a guy who has a .587 OPS in the major leagues this year with a guy who as a .565 OPS in AAA?

Great call. I can't believe Rizzo hasn't thought if that yet.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

JoeS - The Braves arent killing us... we are killing ourselves... We arent playing good baseball right now... no one is forcing us to do that...

What the Braves are doing is handling there business...

We can learn from that...

bowdenball said...

The point, Seamhead, is that he wasn't showboating. He ran the bases a bit slower than usual I suppose, but no slower than a normal HR trot. And there's nothing wrong with pointing to the heavens after a HR, regardless of whether Teheran knew the reason. Guys do stuff like that all the time after the cross the plate. Big Papi does it after every HR, after taking 30+ seconds to round the bases.

Being ahead or behind in the standings doesn't change anything. What Teheran did was a punk move no matter the standings or the game score. I haven't looked around much, but I bet you can't find a single non-Atlanta media member who defends him or sides with the Braves today.

sjm308 said...

Lots of frustration this morning and rightly so.

I, like Bowdenball, feel that baseball takes more "skill" then any other sport. I have no doubt we are trying but it has been a down year for almost all of our position players. Bench is ridiculous as John pointed out at 9:33. The question is, when will Rizzo start looking toward the future. If, like Mrs B, he still feels we are in contention then that won't happen. If he goes to the other end of the spectrum with JayB, he will blow everything up soon.

I do have to state that I agree with JayB in his assessment of "core" players (Not with blowing it up now). That is tough for me because I really like Ryan Zimmerman but I have to look at what he has done the past two years and its not bad but its not great. He is an above average player and I do hope he plays every single game as a National but I am not putting him at the same level as Harper, SS, JZimmnn or even Rendon.

I would like to see some of the youngsters here sooner than Sept. 1. Moore has shown he can hit at AAA and needs another shot with the big boys. I see no reason to keep Tracy and LaRoche and or Span can certainly sit against tough lefties. It is not the only move Rizzo can make but it sure seems like an easy choice for a first move.

Go Nats!!

John said...

Bowdenball, go F yourself you troller.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

sjm - he needs to right now... this is not our year... i mean its just been real flukey...

Maybe we have over-valued the players, idk but he has to have a plan in place...

i hope it starts with him sending little notes/bird signals/message in bottles to the Girardi camp...

Addressing the bench will be key as well...

sjm308 said...

Bowdenball - you and I also agree on Harper. Hell, even if he was showboating and got hit for that, why wasn't there retaliation from our guys. FeelWood answered my question last night and I say that if the umps don't give any type of warning before the game starts that a Brave should be plunked. Ideal scenerio is Zimmnn gets the first two Braves on 8 pitches and then plunks the #3 guy. I don't care who it is, just plunk him. If they get a guy on early, then this strategy needs to wait.

JD said...


MrsB.

Sorry I disagree. The Braves are killing us. Let's not pretend that it's all bad execution. The team we have out there from the manager on down just isn't as good as we thought. The proof is in our record.

sjm308 said...

Wow - John - how is it trolling to bring up actual stats? I don't believe Bowdenball needs anyone to stick up for him but I don't remember him trashing the team or calling you any names. Just a little touchy are we?

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Jd - To me, its not like the Braves in these past 2 games crushed us... We didnt take advantage of our opportunities... They played sound baseball while we played like this was ST game and we have (what is DJ's favy tag line) 'tomorrow is another day.'

That is the big issue... We arent playing well but I said it could be that we over-valued our players and that Rizzo needs a plan...

bowdenball said...

John said...

"Bowdenball, go F yourself you troller."

Thanks, John. Keep it classy.

If you don't want me to point out that the guy you want to call up is hitting worse in AAA than the guy you want to send down is hitting in the majors, don't suggest it.

The worst thing I did to you is throw in a sarcastic "great call," which frankly you deserved because you were badmouthing the players and the GM but couldn't be bothered to take 30 seconds to look up the stats of the players you mentioned. If you don't want to be called out for being wrong, don't post things that are wrong.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Bowdenball. I chuckled at the Solano comment, too. Guess I'm a troll with you.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

new thread...

JD said...


Bad moves and things which hadn't worked out as hoped:

1) Soriano signing - Bad over reaction to game 5. The cost is the regression of a top young closer to a point where there are questions about his future.

2) Span trade - a good move which soured because the player is having an off year.

3) Espinosa - A player coming off a 3.4 year regresses to someone who can't cut it in the minors. Something really bad happened here(whether is medical or not) and everyone has culpability in this.

4) LaRoche regressed to the mean. At age 33 LaRoche is basically having a standard season whereas we all hoped he can repeat his career season from last year.

5) Ryan Zimmerman is 0.9 WAR compared to 4.1 last year and 6.8 in 2008 and 2009. Home runs and doubles are down.

6) Bench has been a disaster.

7) The entire pitching staff is unable to hold runners on - that has to be on the coaching staff.


fast eddie said...

JD:
I agree with you on the "bad moves" you cite.
So, do you advocate trading any or all of these five players or just hope that this year was an aberration?

JD said...


fast eddie:

IMO Rizzo should:

1) trade Soriano and LaRoche if at all possible, don't worry about what you get back and you may also have to eat some salary. I think someone may want Soriano.

2) Rebuild your bench from scratch (only keep Lombo).

3) Add another impact bat.
4) Do whatever it takes to resurrect the young talented players (be it medical or otherwise).
5) Pray Zim finds his game.

fast eddie said...

JD:
What about Espinosa? With Peralta suspended for 50 games, he may have his highest trade value to the Tigers as a SS.

Post a Comment